Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Open Letter To The Pittsburgh Baseball Club

It's not always easy being a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  We all know the reasons.  One thing that makes it easier is this franchise's long, rich history.  Pittsburgh's baseball fans are fortunate to have more than 125 years of baseball to cherish, but time has eroded our memories of players and moments that should never be forgotten.  One player in particular stands out.

Arky Vaughan is one of the greatest shortstops in baseball history.  Statistics show us he is second only to the legend he succeeded at the position, Honus Wagner.  Vaughan was an All-Star in nine consecutive seasons.  His 1935 season is by many measures the greatest offensive season for a shortstop in baseball history.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

As a man, Arky Vaughan's reputation would make any Pittsburgh sports fan proud.  He had a quiet demeanor on and off the field.  In fact, there is very little to indicate he ever sought fame or recognition for his individual achievements. He left that responsibility to us.  Until now, we have failed to properly preserve his legacy, but we have an opportunity to change that.

Arky Vaughan should be recognized as one of the greatest players to ever wear a Pirates uniform.  He deserves a place among the most celebrated names in the history of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.  This franchise has retired ten numbers.  Today, I am respectfully calling on the Pirates front office to make Arky Vaughan the eleventh player to receive this honor.

Why has this not already happened?  Part of the answer may be the fact that Arky Vaughan wore #21 for the majority of his career with the Pirates.  There is precedent in other organizations for retiring the same number twice for two players.  However, in respect to Roberto Clemente's place in baseball history, I propose an alternative.  Arky Vaughan also wore the #3 and #5 during his time with the Pirates.  Retiring one of these numbers accomplishes the same goal.

August 30, 1952 will mark the 60th anniversary of Arky Vaughan's death.  The Pirates have a home game scheduled for August 29.  That is the day to celebrate Arky Vaughan, retire his number and ensure that he is never forgotten.

Make August 29, 2012 a day to remind the baseball world that the Pittsburgh Pirates' legacy of greatness at shortstop goes beyond Honus Wagner. Make it a day to permanently preserve Arky Vaughan's place in history.  Give Pirates fans another reason to be proud of their team.


Matthew Carlins
Pirates Fan